COVID-19 cases are low, life returns to normal. Here’s why it’s safe

HOUSTON – There is good news in the fight against coronavirus. As predicted, without enforcing any restrictions, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo ran for three straight weeks without signs of surging COVID cases. Low transmission rates and high level of immunity are why the event (and all large scale events) are determined to be safer now.

Here are the numbers:

The Texas Medical Center said the reproduction rate last week was below 1, exactly where we want it. Cases are also down, and they’ve been trending in that direction since January.

Hospitalizations at TMC went slightly up last week but only by 26 patients.

“Those numbers are all about as low as we’ve ever been,” said Dr. James McDeavitt, Baylor College of Medicine Vice President and Dean of Clinical Affairs.

According to the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council, SETRAC, 25 counties across southeast Texas have a total of 428 hospitalizations, including ICU and pediatric patients. That’s down from more than 3,000 in January.

While there is another variant, BA.2, it’s not like those that have come before it and caused severe cases. “We have some degree of immunity now that’s preventing that from occurring,” McDeavitt said.

Immunity and weaker variants mean large scale events, gatherings and travel plans are encouraged again.

“I think summer travel is relatively safe. Now, I would pay attention to where you’re going. If you’re flying into a hotspot, perhaps you should be a little more cautious. The U.S. in general looks good,” Dr. McDeavitt said.